Most of today’s farmers make decisions such as how much fertilizer to apply based on a combination of rough measurements, experience and recommendations. Once a course of action is decided, it is implemented but the results are normally not seen until harvest time and usually not yielding close to the land’s potential.
Suparatana “Nina” Bencharongkul, daughter of Boonchai Bencharongkul, founder and chairman of Thailand mobile phone service provider, DTAC, is pioneering the next technology agricultural revolution by using new and advanced technologies, integrated into one system, to enable farmers and other stakeholders within the agriculture value chain to improve food production.
Bencharongkul is one of the earliest adopters of social media, making her one of the most established and reputable “lifestyle influencers” in Asia. Her instagram account for example, @nina_neungb, is a lifestyle reference guide for many, but more importantly, it has become a platform to connect people from all around the world. She realized the need for, and the advantages of technology, and thus, her initiatives to promote precision farming techniques to drive the growth in agriculture.
As the General Manager of Rakbankerd, a subsidiary of her father’s Benchachinda Group, Bencharongkul’s agricultural revolution is a digital agriculture system that gathers data more frequently and accurately, often combined with external sources (such as weather information). The combined data is analyzed and interpreted so the farmer can make more informed and appropriate decisions. These decisions can then be quickly implemented with greater accuracy through sophisticated software and advanced machinery, and farmers can get real-time feedback on the impact of their actions.
Rakbankerd’s technologies used include sensors, communication networks, Unmanned Aviation Systems (UAS), Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics and other advanced machinery and often draws on the principles of the Internet of Things. Each one of these brings something valuable to farming from data collection, through to management and processing, as well as guidance and direction. This integrated system offers new insights that enhance the ability to make decisions and subsequently implement them.
What Bencharongkul is pioneering is making agriculture more productive, more consistent and to use time and resources more efficiently. This brings critical advantages for farmers and wider social benefits around the world. It also enables organizations to share information across traditional industry boundaries to open up new, disruptive opportunities.
Feature image: Bencharongkul, the influencer and pioneer. (Photo: Free of any known copyright restrictions.)